3rd Annual From Patriot to Veteran Virtual Challenge Series
September 11 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
It’s a new year, and things are opening up! Vaccines were brought to us expeditiously and the CDC says restrictions can be (generally) lifted. However, one amazing thing that came about for NeoEndurance from the pandemic was this virtual series. On top of that, it is an event that means so much to us as supporters of Veterans and their families across the country. With that in mind, proceeds will be going to a non-profit organization that puts together and send care packages to troops downrange. They are called the Stano Foundation, and you can read more about them below!
The race series:
Considering the running world as we know it turned toward the virtual side in 2020, we decided to up the ante on how we would put on a just a regular virtual race. As runners ourselves, we want to earn some super amazing medals as well as snagging some awesome shirts to go with them. We especially like performance shirts that are great for this Florida heat!
We are going to keep this series going: The Patriot to Veteran Virtual Run Series. Start on 9/11, and keep going until Veteran’s Day on November 11. If your goal is 50 miles, you will earn that marvelous medal and wonderful shirt. You want to do 100 miles? You will get the same thing, plus an additional medal. For those that want to put it all on the line, we will be sending you a third medal on top of all the other goodies.
Since one of your Race Directors is a Veteran and former First Responder, this series hits very close to home. While some of you know, George was a Firefighter in the US Air Force. These two dates represent something very special, so we want to offer you something for taking the time to walk (and/or run) in the shoes of those who have served. The events have been named after duty stations to which George was assigned, each one with a special meaning.
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Situated in the small but mighty Goldsboro, NC, this beautiful, growing, and retiree filled town has been on the rise for many years. This base plays host to four squadrons of F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets as well as an Air National Guard unit of KC-135 refueling aircraft. While this base is disliked among many young folks upon their first arrival, it is a diamond in the rough that allows for incredible family life and a camaraderie among base occupants that is second to none.
This base was only a short, 10 hour drive from home for George. While 10 hours can be a lot of driving, it is relatively short if you break it up. Similar to 50 miles over 2 months. It is less than a mile a day, but it is nothing short of an incredible feat. If this is your kind of challenge get out there and put some miles in. You’ll be more than glad you maintained your running pattern for two months!
Royal Air Force Mildenhall. In sunny (google how sunny it is) Mildenhall, Suffolk, United Kingdom sits this glorious air base host to the only permanent family-boasting base in the Air Force that supports operational missions in a war zone. Additionally, multiple Air Force Special Operations Squadrons operate out of this base. Aside from the military side, Mildenhall is the perfect base for families loving to travel to be stationed. In a 45 minute drive and a 45 minute flight, you can be in Dublin, Ireland. For less than $100 per person, you and your family can go spend Thanksgiving in Rome, Italy. Travel options are superfluous and regularly frequented by American service members and their families as England is the perfect hub to travel all of Europe.
From Florida, a one-way flight to London can have you there in about 10-14 hours depending on tailwind. The world record for 100 miles is 11 hours 19 minutes and 13 seconds. The point? You don’t need to run 100 miles in the same amount of time you can fly to England. No, no, the point here is that a hop across the pond is a long way, but it is completely doable and more than worth it. Go challenge yourself and see what you can achieve! 50 miles per month may seem daunting, but, at some point, so did running 1 mile. Show us what you’re made of!
Kunsan Air Base. When you google it, Gunsan South Korea is likely what you will find. Home to the Legendary 8th Civil Engineer Red Devils (SHH….Woooooooooo) and multiple F-16 Fighting Falcon Squadrons, this remote base is one where service members are forced to go alone without their families for a year at a time. The purpose of this base is to stand ready in case North Korea comes to overtake the south of the peninsula. They live in solitude, but surrounded by fellow Airmen living in the same circumstances missing their loved ones. Because of the remoteness, many service members grow extremely close as they rely on each other to get by until they get their chance to hit the CAC for their final bus ride to Osan to catch their hop home. It’s a time that will stay with them forever, and one some will experience several times during their career. Nevertheless, Kunsan has the ability to be terrible or incredible; it all depends on how you choose to make it.
Running 200 miles over 2 months is extremely similar. It’s not easy. It is, at times, very challenging. However, you’re not alone. Others are out there getting after it the same way you are with hopes of making it through a very difficult distance with only each other by their side to cheer one another on. The idea is to go do something where you’re battling with an unknown enemy, but there is relatively no doubt that you will come out victorious. Many factors can come at you and set you back, but vigilance and resilience will keep you upping the ante to the point no person, place, or thing can get you down. Earn those three medals and prove you’re tougher than tough!